Translating rhetorical questions
What soldier ever has to pay his own expenses in the army? I Corinthians 9:7 (TEV)On the other hand, a negative rhetorical question usually equals a strong positive statement:meansNo soldier ever has to pay his own expense.
Am I not a free man? I Corinthians 9:1 (TEV)A rhetorical question can sometimes be misunderstood or misinterpreted as a real question. For example, the reader may think that Paul’s rhetorical question Who then is Paul? (I Corinthians 3:5) is a real question to seek information about another person named Paul.meansI certainly am a free man.
Paul used 15 rhetorical questions in I Corinthians 9:1-12, four in a row in verse one, and eight in a row in verses 4-8. This frequency is much greater than many English readers are accustomed to and can be a distraction from the focus of the text.
To avoid misunderstanding, misinterpretation of rhetorical questions as real ones, and distraction from the focus of a text, I’ve translated most rhetorical questions as statements in The Better Life Bible.
Categories: Bible translation, rhetorical analysis, natural English, Better Life Bible